Objective.—It is well known that physical trauma to skin caused by repetitive friction is a primary component of blister formation. Although friction blisters in a wilderness setting particularly occur on the feet and ankles, they often form on the hands and fingers during such activities as white-water rafting, kayaking, and canoeing. These blisters are often incapacitating and can have disabling consequences. This article describes laboratory and clinical experiments testing the efficacy of a new bandage technology in reducing shear and friction forces on the skin.
Methods.—A custom-made apparatus was used in a laboratory setting to measure and compare the surface coefficient of friction of 11 bandages. In addition, a controlled clinical study was conducted on 15 healthy, able-bodied female subjects (mean age 35 years), where the same apparatus was used to measure the coefficient of friction of the skin over the medial tibial cortex with and without the new technology device in place.
Results.—This laboratory study demonstrated the new device to have the lowest surface coefficient of friction of any bandage tested (0.57). For example, the common product Moleskin was 21% higher (0.67), with all other products testing at least 64% higher (>0.94). In the clinical study, the new technology device reduced the coefficient of friction on the skin by 31% (0.225 vs 0.327), and this difference was statistically significant (P < .001).
Conclusions.—A bandage containing a new technology demonstrated the lowest surface coefficient of friction of any bandage tested. In addition, clinical tests performed with the same bandage demonstrated significant reduction of the coefficient of friction on the skin.